What is MARC?

Why is this program important?


Program Benefits

Program Responsibilities and Expectations

How do I apply?

What is MARC?

The Maximizing Access to Research Careers Program (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U*STAR) is sponsored by the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences. The Program provides support for undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences to improve their preparation for high-caliber graduate training at the Ph.D. level.

Trainees must be honors students majoring in the biomedical or behavioral sciences who have expressed interest in pursuing postgraduate education leading to the Ph.D. or M.D.-Ph.D. in these fields upon completing their baccalaureate degree. The period of appointment to the MARC U*STAR program is a consecutive 24-month period in the last 2 years of a student’s enrollment at SDSU undergraduate training.

Why is this program important?

The Maximizing Access to Research Careers Program sponsored by the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences was established in 1975 to help develop the talent and to increase the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded to diverse population.


Applications for the program are typically available in the spring and awards are made by June 1st of each year. Trainees for the program will be selected based of the following criteria:

  • Full time academic standing at SDSU
  • U.S. citizen or U.S permanent resident
  • Upper division standing (i.e., 60 or more completed units)*
  • Demonstrated potential and interest in pursuing a graduate degree (Ph.D.) in a STEM field
  • A science and overall GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Consent to complete the prescribed course of study and activities related to the MARC program

Underrepresented students, academically disadvantage students, and students with disability are especially encouraged to apply.  The MARC program is not intended for students who plan to pursue a medical degree only.

*The program is designed for students who are in their final two years of college.

 Program Benefits

  • A monthly stipend of $1008.00
  • Money to cover 60% of tuition
  • Textbook allowance and a research supply budget
  • Research opportunities and mentoring
  • Travel support to attend scientific conferences
  • Opportunities to present and publish research
  • Year round professional and scientific development workshops
  • Standardized test-taking strategies workshops
  • Opportunities to network in the scientific community

Program Responsibilities and Expectations

There are significant number of benefits to being in the MARC program, as well as a number of responsibilities and expectations. By applying, you are indicating that you are familiar with the expectations below and agree to adhere to them if accepted into the program.

The MARC program is a two year commitment; students are appointed in June each year, and are expected to remain in good standing until graduation. Including completion of MARC required courses listed below:

  • Responsible Conduct in Scientific Research (Psych 492 or INTS 690)
  • Colloquium in Biomedical Science (Bio 246)
  • Scientific Writing (RWS 508W)
  • Graduate School Application Strategies (Bio 247)

In addition to the MARC required course work listed above, the following are also required by the MARC program:

  • Conduct 15-20 hours per week of research during the academic year, and 30-40 hours per week during the summer
  • Summer research experience (SRE) at another institution outside of SDSU. All expenses covered by the MARC program
  • Apply to 10 Ph.D. program (a minimum of three universities must be outside of California)
  • Apply to the Sally Casanova California Pre-doctoral program
  • Participate in Pre-MARC seminar activities
  • Present and defend an Honors thesis during the senior year (Biology and Psychology)
  • Participate in community service

How do I apply?

Download an application here.

If you would like further information, please contact:

Thelma C. Chavez
Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC)
SDSU College of Sciences-GMCS 322B
Center for the Advancement of Students and Academia
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-1016
Phone:(619) 594-7195
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